My Name is A By Anonymous (2011)
Directed by Boneshin (aka Shane Ryan)
Anonymous aka Boneshin is clearly not that anonymous. My Name is A is directed by Shane Ryan, who clearly is a fringe filmmaker who's helmed the infamous Amateur Pornstar Killer series as well as Warning!!!! Pedophile Released. Having not seen the latter which I hear is actually pretty good, I'm left to judge his merit on APK and this film.
My Name is A (formerly a short called The Columbine Effect) is clearly in that genre of fictional recreations where a real life tragedy is turned into a film but shaded with arthouse flair. The film is a recreation of the life and times of alleged murderer Alyssa Bustamante who at the age of 15 killed Elizabeth Olten, who was only 9 years old. I had not heard of this crime and it's clearly something TruTV would focus on. Oh wait they did.
The film plays out the real as real life. You can read the entire notorious murder by heading here. We meet Alyssa, a gothy teen, who paints her face Joker style and has a taste of the killing. She's accompanied by "the sidekick" who follows her orders to a tee. In parallel we also meet "the performer" who is trying to find her direction in voice and art. Finally, we meet "the angst" who's abuse from her stepfather has her vomiting into jars.
Told in a shaky cam 3rd person blended with Flip/phone cams, it's got a docu-teen feel to it. Everything is overlayed with a music video quality and the dialogue is pure vulgar spewage. But whatever Ryan was trying to do here is lost on me. Movies like The Zero Effect and Van Sant's Elephant that recreated Columbine did so by not judging the killers, only following them on that day's events. After such a tragedy, nobody ever has a clear understanding why.
In My Name is A, Ryan clearly wants us to see Alyssa's madness manifest themselves in visual characters of performer, angst, sidekick, etc. Why did she kill this little girl? Was it the culmination of sexual abuse with teenage angst, being a rebel and trying to be "famous"? Clearly, we are led to believe this is the case. Why is never important when creating a fictional version of a real life tragedy. One has to judge on it with uncertainty...it's the only thing that's certain when it comes to motive.
The film itself is a miragy mix of Harmony Korine's early stuff and it's just plain boring. Add in the visual nausea and the meanderings of dialogue (and bad acting) it's a milkshake of nonsense. Every scene seems picked from the true story such as the Joker makeup, the kid brother, the electric fence playground and the actual way the victim dies. Even her look (see the link above) is mimicked in unison. However, I didn't see a what felt like 10 minute music video dream sequence coming. No idea what that was about.
There have been movies like this before. The Sylvia Likens case comes to mind and I watched 2 films based on that. An American Crime (starring Ellen Page) and The Girl Next Door. Both handled the real life horrific murder solidly and elegantly. Even Elephant was oddly mesmerizing.
Unfortunately My Name is A by Anonymous clearly wants to give us innocence lost (a killer and a victim) theme, but none of that really stood out. Instead, Shane Ryan tricked me with a cool title and made me watch a film with untapped potential that had me asking him....why??
Umm I try to not think of what I saw as nudity... ::shivers::
A bit of blood
Where did this Russian music video come from?
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
My Name is A by Anonymous comes from Mad Sin Cinema. Here's some info on the vitals. My Name is A by anonymous (formerly known as The Columbine Effect) stars Russian pop star Teona Dolnikova, Demi Baumann – the younger sister of actor Ken Baumann from The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Sean Cain. With newcomers Katie Marsh, Kaliya Skye, Joseph Marsh and Alex Damiano. Produced by Alisha Rayne, Cinematography by Arturo Guerrero.
Check out the trailer.